HC Deb 20 February 1883 vol 276 cc406-8

said, he had given Notice of a Question similar to one which was put yesterday to the Chief Secretary for Ireland by his right hon. Friend the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote). He should not ask this Question on the present occasion were it not that he thought it must be satisfactory to the Government to have another opportunity of offering an explanation as to the employment, either directly or indirectly, of such dubious instruments as Sheridan. His Question was, Whether one Sheridan, described by James Carey in the course of the inquiry at Kilmainham Court House on Saturday as having acted as intermediary between the Irish Invincibles and their allies in London, is one of the men mentioned in the negotiations that led to the release of the suspects from Kilmainham Gaol last Spring, and of whom the honourable Member for the city of Cork, before his release, said— He hoped to make use of and get him back from abroad, as he would be able to help him to put down conspiracy or agitation, as he know all its details in the West; and, with regard to whom the Member for Bradford said in this House, on 15th May— It gave me a sort of insight into what had been happening, which I had not before, that a man (Sheridan) whom I knew, in as far as I had any possibility of knowing was engaged in these outrages, was so far under the influence of the honourable Member for the city of Cork, that upon his release he would get the assistance of that man to put down the very things he had been provoking.


When I am asked a Question in the House I always answer that Question, and I do not make it an opportunity for offering explanations as to matters which are not before us. I answered the Question yesterday to all intents and purposes. As regards the Question put to-day, I consider it is both reasonable and civil that the first part should be addressed to the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), and the last part to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster).


asked the Government whether they had any prospect of bringing Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Brennan, the late Secretary of the Land League, to justice; and whether the Government had any further information in connection with the Land League and the assassinations in Ireland?


was about to inter pose, when—


said: Perhaps my right hon. Friend will allow me to reply. I happen to be the person responsible in this matter, and I must make an appeal to the House to support me in declining to answer these Questions. If any hon. Gentlemen think that the Government are not anxiously desirous to put the law in force in every possible way against these culprits, I think they ought to take some means of expressing their opinion. If they do not, I must ask the House not to practically aid in defeating the ends of justice by these Questions.